Pandemic funds available to reimburse first responders in New York

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The pandemic has impacted many but arguably has hit first responders the hardest. New York State has created a fund to support the workers that have been on the front lines.

Applications are now open for the Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund, designed to support first responders affected by the pandemic. Eligible first responders can apply to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses, including child or dependent care, transportation, lodging, and other qualifying expenses.

Each household can claim up to $1,000 for qualifying expenses they incurred while working in New York State between March 1, 2020, through the date of application submission.

Qualifying applicants include first responders, health care workers, and many multi-industry essential workers. Applicants must also have a household income of under five times the federal poverty level, which is up to $125,470 for a family of four.

Those who are eligible for the grant can apply themselves, or be referred by employers, unions, or social service providers who employed them during the COVID emergency.

The application requires proof of income from 2019 and 2020, along with expense documentation. Only one application can be made per household. If a household contains multiple eligible people, their documentation must be filed with the same form. There are exceptions for family members who are not dependents and spouses who file their taxes separately. More details can be found online.

Funding for the grant was provided by a combination of private donations from individuals, charitable trusts, and businesses.

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